It is the mindset of a person’s body and soul that keeps them thriving for life in itself. I believe this is what Mr. O’Connor had to keep him going, with his thrive to live in addition, to the support of his family and friends. His research was truly magnified in all directions of life and knowledge. The question is how many of us would go to such lengths to do the research and want to make changes in our lives to survive for another year if we found out we had a deadly cancer and only one year to live? Most of us would go on our vacations with the family for the last time and make the most of that last year. We would not challenge the physicians or question them. James did, though, and proved to them there are alternative ways to live your life longer without chemo or radiation.
I personally have lived through something similar to this, regarding cancer of a different form. In 2002, my husband Roger was diagnosed with chronic lung disease. He was sent home on inhalers and was to use a home nebulizer machine for the tougher breathing times. At this time not many tests were done, just those dealing with the lungs. Within two years, his breathing had become more of a problem. One day his breathing developed more wheezing and his color was pastier looking. We went to the doctor’s office to see the physician and she immediately sent us to the hospital. Roger went through a series of tests in which we found out he was having silent heart attacks, a new onset of diabetes, and at the time something wrong with his blood. He had become anemic and no one knew why. We consulted with an oncologist and the doctor decided to do a bone marrow biopsy. There was a problem with the red blood cells, which looked like leukemia, but the physician was not sure or what was the cause. It took another year and numerous blood samples to find out what type or even if it was leukemia. The results came in and it was “Large Granular Lymphocytic” leukemia or otherwise known as LGL. This type is a rare form of chronic leukemia which is mostly a slow growing type, but there is also a more aggressive type. Drugs may suppress the slow ones, but the aggressive cases are hard to treat. Roger was told he could live three years or up to thirty years. The oncologist could not give us a time frame, and only time would tell.
Since I worked in the medical field I knew how deadly leukemia can be. We began to watch Roger’s diet, although he was not always compliant to the stiff regiment. As a family, we decided to do what we could to enjoy every day of his life whether it be for the next three months or 30 years. Roger began to become more anemic and started going from every six months to every four months for blood transfusions. Then in September 2002, he went into the hospital for another transfusion and his body started to shut down, starting with renal failure and then with congestive heart failure, then he became septic. Roger then said it was time to let him go, because he did not want to suffer anymore. Roger passed away on September 28th, 2007 two weeks after he entered the hospital. During the years prior to his death, we had talked with the children and to each other about life and death. We thought as a family we were prepared, but no one can prepare you for that last breathe of a loved father, friend and soul partner.
I feel that being in the medical field we rely on the words of the doctor and the medications, without questioning or researching different aspects of cures. Had I know what Mr. O’Connor researched would it have changed the quality of life for Roger. Mr. O’Connor has proved that there are alternative ways to fight cancer, such as involving holistic and alternative medicine.
If I were given the diagnosis of cancer and there were no options for a cure, I surely would do what Mr. O’Connor had done. I do know now that it is our outlook on life and the foods we eat, the herbs that we use gives us a better chance to fight diseases. Spiritual beliefs, family, and friends all play a big role in keeping us healthy and well- nurtured. I would research every health and food books, and talk to every eastern and western doctors. I believe that James O’Connor did lead us to a new path of life. We all need to look outside of the box to find new cures. I will be going to school to receive and associates degree in Medical Assisting. I want to work with physicians to give patients different alternatives for a better life expectancy. I have worked in the medical field for over 30 years and I told my husband that I would help find cures for these deadly diseases. What better way to do it than in a physician’s office? With the knowledge I now have I can help people as Mr. O’Connor has done by writing his book and by never giving up.